Homecoming: A Message for Those Who Choose Not to Attend
Around this time of year, college graduates across the country have to make a very important decision: should I or should I not go to homecoming? For some of us, this choice is fairly easy as the lure of parties, tailgating, and the football game…(I mean the halftime performances)…is hard to pass up. We call our friends to nail down the party itinerary, then begin the laborious task of selecting outfits for each festivity. We book flights and make lodging arrangements with great expectations for an epic weekend. The weekend passes as quickly as it came in, finding most of us back at work – on a Tuesday – with the “homecoming hangover.” Awkward images of ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends, snippets of unexpected conversations and feelings of euphoria during a requisite swag-surf will flood our minds for weeks to come.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Mecca, also known as Howard University, last month and participating in events and catching up with old friends. This was the first time I’ve been back “home” in three years. With this being the Class of 2006 ten year reunion, I expected to see a lot of my buddies from undergrad. But this wasn’t exactly the case.
There are some people who probably felt like how I felt when I decided to stop attending a few years ago. “I’m not where I thought I would be,” was really the only true response that I had for not attending, even though when friends asked I deferred to a “busy that day” response. For me, the thought of seeing classmates and friends and not having any major life changing news to report was too much for me. Additionally, there was a high level of expectation I had for myself and others had for me as a student on campus. So I opted to live out my homecoming experience through Facebook and Instagram posts. For anyone who may fit this same description, I would highly recommend that you reconsider and make plans to attend homecoming. Expect to gain something from your time! You don’t go to a party expecting nothing to happen. Neither would you go to the gym expecting to just observe equipment that can help change your life. You must be an active participant during homecoming and this is what will make your time enjoyable. So what did I get out of my weekend? 3 things: I rediscovered, I reminisced, and I left motivated.
Rediscover. Homecoming gave me an opportunity to rediscover the love that I have for my classmates and the university as a whole. From the time I arrived on campus as a freshman to the time I graduated, I had changed so much as a person and was ready to take on the “real world” with a better understanding of who I was. I owe a lot of my success to my peers and the knowledge that was giving to me at Alma Mater. Attending homecoming also allowed me to assess just how far I had come since graduating. I think this is something important to take away because it puts things into perspective and speaks to the reality of our own individual growth that we’ve made over these past few years. But when we are in our same environment it is hard to truly realize how much we have matured and accomplished.
Secondly, Reminisce- Interacting with peers, seeing old friends for the first time in years is such an amazing thing. My interactions were not so much about what specifically I am doing but it gave way to discussions reminiscing about the times we had in school. From classes with Dr. Carr, to the blizzard of 2003, the epic LATEX parties, and past relationships, it was a break from the normal and made me feel like I hadn’t left campus. Reminiscing allows us to feel better about our current situation while renewing our hope for the future.
Finally, Motivation-So at some point you will come across and learn what is new in folk’s life. New baby, new marriage, new career, new locations, all of the normal things that happen to us when we get older. Hearing and seeing how well people were doing and looking was so motivating! It gave me a true sense of how well Howard graduates are doing. And it seemed to almost be a surprise because the conversation wasn’t so much about their lives but about the appreciation they had for the university that gave them so much. And because I attended this same institution it further confirmed that whatever the next big thing is in my life, I am more than ready and prepared for it. All I need to do is walk forward when the door opens. So my weekend full of rediscovery, reminiscing and motivation was the fuel that I needed to get me to the next stop on this journey called life. My only regret is that I missed so many years and opportunities. In the end, if you are still unsure about homecoming, there is hope. Homecoming is about 330 days away, which gives you time to pack, plan, and save money. Homecoming just might be the thing to get you out of your comfort zone to push you toward your greatness. It did for me. Live on Purpose!